Adult ADHD : the effects of hookah pipe smoking on attention and concentration in young adults with ADHD symptomatology

Doctoral thesis OPEN
  • Subject: Nicotine - Physiological effects | Attention-deficit disorder in adults | Hookah pipe smoking
    mesheuropmc: behavioral disciplines and activities | mental disorders

M.A. Literature indicates that childhood ADHD has received considerable attention and recognition in today’s society and is effectively represented in the DSM. In comparison, there is still much controversy surrounding ADHD in adults (aADHD), despite the fact that almost 50 to 70% of people diagnosed with childhood ADHD continue to manifest symptoms in adulthood. Research indicates that aADHD manifests differently to childhood ADHD, in that the core symptom is inattention and not hyperactivity. Research also indicates that there is a high comorbidity between aADHD and substance dependence, including nicotine dependence. It is hypothesized that these individuals present with hypodopamine, and nicotine acts on a number of neurotransmitter pathways, including the dopaminergic and acetylcholinergic pathways, effectively stimulating the release of dopamine. Whilst there is considerable literature on nicotine and ADHD, there is a complete lack of literature on the relationship between aADHD and Hookah Pipe smoking. This study aimed to rectify this situation. The present study was conducted with two major purposes in mind: (1) to investigate the relationship between Hookah Pipe smoking and its effects on attention and concentration in young adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptomatology, and (2) to demonstrate whether Hookah has a greater effect than cigarettes (as Hookah reportedly has higher concentrations of nicotine than cigarettes). A total sample of 39 participants (14 males, 35 females) aged 18 to 26 years was recruited and divided into the following six groups using the ASRS, the Burke-Austin Self-Report ADHD Questionnaire and a substance abuse questionnaire as screening tools: ADHD (Hookah), ADHD (Nicotine), ADHD (Non-Smoking), Non-ADHD (Hookah), Non-ADHD (Nicotine) and Non-ADHD (Non-Smoking). Furthermore, a quasi-experimental research design was used, whereby the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) ADHD Battery was administered across three test conditions, with a seven minute intervention between the pre- and post-intervention, and a 90 minute waiting period between the immediate and intermediate post-intervention, so as to test the effects of the nicotine as it neared its elimination half-life of two hours.
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